Monday, March 8, 2010

The Anatomy of Bad Communication

"It's the communication, stupid!" as Terry Holley aptly said in the comment.

I found the following post from Quit List #997-Quit thinking you are a great communicator. You ain’t! 
The post seemed particularly relevant to me in this age of information overload where SYNTHESIS and not only ANALYSIS is the key to success.

The anatomy of bad communication...
There are 4 reasons we unknowingly communicate poorly.
1. We don’t realize the listener does not have access to the other thoughts and images in our head which have contributed to a particular thought or idea we have just shared .

2.  We are biased to our own communication
We assume that because we know what we want, and we say the words of what we want, that people will simply understand what we want. 

3.  The picture  in our mind that we are trying to communicate is most likely not the same picture generated in the minds of our listener.

4.  Assuming someone understands simply because they say they understand.

As I mulled over the points, I realized how these parameters can impact all relationships. Taking care of these can help:
  1. Ensure you get what you expect from a job (at least your boss may understands what you want even if unable to provide it)
  2. Prevent employees/team members from being demotivated
  3. Set the right expectations with a client
  4. Prevent "I don't think you understand what I meant" moments
  5. Motivate people to take the desired actions
  6. And most importantly, ask the right questions

Increasingly, in today's complex, information-loaded, globally-scattered work environment, effective communication is the key to business success, team bonding, a unified workforce. Effective communication is the key to successful decisions.
  1. Effective communication enables information to be distributed to the right sources. 
  2. This information through discussions, brainstorming sessions, collective sharing of inputs become knowledge.
  3. This knowledge drives the decision-making process.

Books like Made to Stick, Switch, Naked Conversations, etc., that have become chart-busters are all about effective communication. The need for this is becoming acute as the output demanded to excel require greater innovative skills, creativity, and above all, SYNTHESIS.

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